Article updated 6:00 a.m. Saturday …
Palatine police and firefighter/paramedics responded to a report at 11:51 a.m. Friday of smoke in a house in the 1100 block of West Mallard Drive. The caller stated she could not get in the house and that she saw and smelled smoke, and that she could hear the smoke detector sounding inside. She also stated that there was someone still in the house. Police and firefighters arrived within minutes, and by 11:56 a.m. were met by the caller in front of a two-story brick home with a Mansard roof and attached garage. Police and firefighters arrived to find a house filled with smoke.
According to Palatine Fire Department Deputy Chief Scott Andersen, firefighters forced entry into the house, advanced a 1 ¾ inch charged hose line up the stairs and began a search of the second floor. The primary search of the 1st and 2nd floors found no occupants and no fire. The firefighters then advanced the hose line to the basement where they encountered heavy smoke and fire damage, but no fire. At 12:07 p.m. they located a woman in the basement laundry room while searching with their thermal imaging camera, and removed her from the house. Efforts to resuscitate her were unsuccessful and she was transported to Northwest Community Hospital in Arlington Heights. The victim was the only person home at the time of the fire. No other injuries or casualties were reported
The victim was later identified as Joann Joyce.
Firefighters found charring in the basement, but no existing fire. The closed house and low oxygen conditions apparently caused the fire to extinguish before firefighters arrived.
In addition to a full fire department response with 23 members of the Palatine Fire Department, there was assistance from Palatine Rural Fire Protection District and Rolling Meadows Fire Department, with a total of four rescue ambulances at the scene. Arlington Heights Fire Department responded with one of the four rescue-ambulances called to the scene.
The State Fire Marshall was also called to the scene for assistance with investigation. Palatine Police, Palatine Fire Department and the Illinois State Fire Marshal’s Office are investigating the fire.
The Palatine Fire Department stressed the importance of making sure all residents have a working smoke detector. Batteries in smoke detectors should be changed twice yearly and families should plan together on what to do if they have a fire in their home or apartment.
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